Concerns expressed over plans to merge Louth Garda division with Cavan-Monaghan

Sinn Fein TD’s Ruairí Ó Murchú and Imelda Munster have written to Garda Commisioner Drew Harris expressing their concerns about a proposal from the Gardaí which would see a new divisional structure that would have Cavan-Monaghan joined with Louth. The TDs believe that Louth must remain a standalone division given the fact that Dundalk and Drogheda are the State’s largest towns.

In the letter the two TD’s point to significant policing challenges in Louth which would become even worse if Cavan and Monaghan are added to the area.

“A Choimisinéir, a chara,

We write as TDs for the Louth constituency, to raise concerns with you about the Garda Operating Model proposed for the Louth-Cavan-Monaghan areas.

It is strongly believed that this new operating area will be to the detriment of Louth and that Louth needs to be a stand-alone division.

There are compelling reasons why Louth has to remain a stand-alone division and are based on the history of policing Louth, the geography of the areas and the diversity of policing challenges that are faced.

Garda crime statistics would back up this view.

There are significant policing challenges in Louth, many of which are based on the fact that Drogheda and Dundalk are the State’s largest towns, with the busiest motorway in the country, North and South, running closely adjacent to both population centres.

In addition, there is a significant tourist destination right on the edge of Louth, in Carlingford, which is frequently a call on Garda resources in Louth, particularly on busy weekends.

Adding Cavan and Monaghan to this creates greater logistical difficulties and doesn’t make sense.

Even when the Department of Housing groups together the three counties for statistics related to homelessness, the figures are so skewed that most of the time, Cavan and Monaghan each report single figure homelessness statistics while Louth reports treble digits for the same month.

The grouping of the three counties together for Garda divisional purposes ignores the everyday facts and also the reality of policing on the ground in Louth, where part of the area will also include parts of east Meath, with significant population centres in this area too.

We do not need to tell anyone in An Garda Siochana of the huge problems and challenges faced by the community and Gardaí in Drogheda during the feud recently and the major resources that were required, and delivered, to bring it to an end.

To add two further counties to these significant policing needs in Louth does not make sense.

While there have been commendable moves towards streamlining in the proposal, it is difficult to see how these proposals to join Louth with Cavan and Monaghan are going to work.

It is a huge burden on a chief superintendent to be responsible for a region such as the one proposed. There are particular worries that the superintendent in charge of serious crime would be responsible for the entire region and not based in Louth.

We are asking for the decision to be looked at again. We are aware that a number of changes proposed in the new policing model have been altered – for example Donegal is a stand-along division, with Sligo-Leitrim separated from the original proposal to join the three together.

We would be grateful if this request can be considered and if you can revert back to us at your earliest convenience, that would be appreciated.

Ádh mór,

Ruairí Ó Murchú TD

Imelda Munster TD,” concluded the letter.

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